It’s a question that has been asked time and again. Why do Judges give multiple life sentences? Some would say it’s because the criminal justice system is brutal, while others may say that it’s because they want to make an example out of the defendant. In this blog post, we will take a closer look at why Judges tend to hand down multiple life sentences and what this means for defendants and their families.
What are Multiple Sentences?
Multiple sentences are exactly what they sound like- two or more prison sentences that are served consecutively, one after the other. In some cases, these sentences may be for different crimes, while in others, they may be for the same crime. For example, a defendant who is sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for first-degree murder may also be sentenced to an additional 20 years for robbery.
Reasons Why Judges Give Multiple Sentences
Judges are Bound By Prescribed Laws and Statues:
In many cases, judges are bound by state and federal laws when it comes to sentencing. For example, in the state of California, there are specific laws that mandate how sentences for certain crimes must be carried out. In some instances, these laws may require a judge to hand down multiple sentences.
Each Charge and Count is Viewed Independently:
In the eyes of the law, each charge and count is viewed independently from one another. This means that even if a defendant is facing multiple charges, the sentence for each charge will be based on the facts and evidence surrounding that particular charge. For example, a defendant who is charged with first-degree murder and robbery may receive two life sentences, even if the robbery was committed after the murder.
Judges Have Discretion When it Comes to Sentencing:
While judges are bound by certain laws and statutes, they also have discretion when it comes to sentencing. This means that they can use their own judgement to determine what sentence or combination of sentences they believe is appropriate in a given case.
The Punishment Should Fit the Crime:
In many cases, judges will hand down multiple sentences in order to ensure that the punishment fits the crime. For example, a defendant who is convicted of first-degree murder may receive a life sentence, while a defendant who is convicted of second-degree murder may receive a lesser sentence.
Multiple Sentences Send a Strong Message to Society:
In some cases, judges may give multiple sentences in order to send a strong message to society. This is often seen in cases where the crime is considered to be particularly heinous or violent. By handing down multiple sentences, the judge is sending a message that this type of behavior will not be tolerated and that those who engage in it will be punished severely.
Judges May Want to Make an Example Out of the Defendant:
Another reason why judges may give multiple life sentences is because they want to make an example out of the defendant. This is often seen in high-profile cases where the Judge wants to send a message to potential criminals that this type of behavior will not be tolerated.
Deterrent Nature and Purpose of the Criminal Justice System:
The criminal justice system is designed to not only punish offenders but also to deter others from committing crime. In some cases, the Judge may feel that multiple life sentences are necessary in order to send a strong message that this behavior will not be tolerated.
While there are many reasons why judges may give multiple life sentences, it is important to remember that each case is unique and that the sentence handed down will be based on the specific facts and circumstances of that case.
The above are only some of many reasons why a judge may sentence a defendant to multiple life sentences. While each case is unique, these factors often play a role in the Judge’s decision-making process.
How Long Is a Life Sentence?
A life sentence is a sentence of imprisonment for a serious crime, typically one carrying a penalty of imprisonment for life. In some jurisdictions, however, a life sentence may be imposed even if the person convicted is not expected to live long enough to serve the full sentence; such sentences are known as “life without parole” or “life imprisonment with no possibility of parole”.
In most jurisdictions, a life sentence is the heaviest possible punishment that can be imposed on an offender. However, there are some jurisdiction in which death may still be imposed as the maximum punishment.
The length of time served in prison under a life sentence varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction and from country to country. In some jurisdictions, offenders may be eligible for parole after serving a certain percentage of their sentence, while in others they may be required to serve the entire sentence.
In most jurisdictions, life sentences are reserved for the most serious crimes, such as sex offenses involving children, murder or terrorism. However, there are some jurisdictions in which life sentences may be imposed for less serious crimes, such as certain drug offenses.
Arguments for Life Sentences
There are a number of arguments in favor of life sentences.
- One is that they provide certainty for victims and their families. When an offender is sentenced to life in prison, the victim and their family know that the offender will not be released from prison and that they will not have to go through the trauma of another trial.
- Another argument in favor of life sentences is that they protect society by ensuring that dangerous offenders are not released back into the community. This is particularly important in cases where the offender has committed a serious crime such as murder or rape.
- A third argument in favor of life sentences is that they act as a deterrent to others who may be considering committing a similar crime. The knowledge that someone who commits a certain type of crime will be sentenced to life in prison may deter others from committing that crime.
- A fourth argument in favor of life sentences is that they allow for offenders to be rehabilitated. This is because offenders who are given a life sentence have the time and opportunity to participate in rehabilitation programs while in prison. These programs can help offenders to address the underlying issues that led them to commit their crimes, which can make them less likely to re-offend if released back into the community on parole.
What Are Some Arguments Against Life Sentences?
There are also a number of arguments against life sentences.
- One is that they are sometimes disproportionate to the crime. This is because the punishment does not fit the crime – someone who has committed a relatively minor offense such as drug possession may be given the same sentence as someone who has committed a much more serious offense such as murder.
- Another argument against life sentences is that they are inhumane and cruel. This is because offenders sentenced to life in prison will spend the rest of their lives in prison, which some people argue is a form of torture.
- A third argument against life sentences is that they are expensive. This is because it costs more to keep someone in prison for life than it does to sentence them to a shorter term of imprisonment.
- A fourth argument against life sentences is that they can lead to offenders becoming institutionalized. This is because offenders who have been in prison for a long time can become used to the prison environment and find it difficult to adjust to life outside of prison.
Concurrent and Subsequent Sentences
When an offender is sentenced to multiple life sentences, the judge may direct on whether the sentences are to be served concurrently or consecutively.
Concurrent sentences are served at the same time, while consecutive sentences are served one after the other.
For example, if an offender is sentenced to two life sentences and the judge directs that they are to be served concurrently, this means that the offender will serve both life sentences at the same time.
However, if the judge directs that the life sentences are to be served consecutively, this means that the offender will serve one term in prison sentence after they have completed serving the other.
The decision of whether to impose concurrent or consecutive sentences is up to the judge and will depend on a number of factors, such as the severity of each offense and whether there are any aggravating or mitigating circumstances.
In conclusion, life sentences are a controversial topic with arguments for and against them. It is up to the judge to decide whether to impose a life sentence and, if so, whether the sentence is to be served concurrently or consecutively.
When making this decision, the judge will consider a number of factors, such as the severity of each offense and any aggravating or mitigating circumstances. In some cases, multiple life sentences may be imposed.
What do you think about life sentences? Let us know in the comments below.